Thursday, June 25, 2009
A disconnect between commanders
General Ritchie asked if General Auchinleck would be willing to risk Tobruk becoming surrounded and under siege, in order to be able to not have to withdraw to the Egyptian border. This was on 14 June 1942. General Auchinleck had not been aware of just how desperate the situation near Tobruk had become. Auchinleck still believed that the Germans and Italians had suffered as well in the battle and could still be fought west of Tobruk. Auchinleck wanted to hold Tobruk, but did not want the fortress isolated and put under siege by the Axis forces. General Ritchie did not see this reply until 4pm on 14 June, after he returned to his headquarters after meeting with the corps commanders. Ritchie wanted to allow Tobruk to become besieged and told that to General Auchinleck. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.